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Essay on Peer Rejection in Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly

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The novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly brings the serious topic of social prejudice to the limelight. Frankenstein shows a great example of how continued rejection from ones family or peers can cause one to revert from a virtuous being into a murderer or cause one to become suicidal. People today, as in Frankenstein, are still first judged on their physical appearance and not on their benevolence. Babies have been abandoned because of physical defects; children and adults are teased, bullied, ridiculed, and ignored because of their clothes, hair, face, body, etc. This judgmental human behavior has serious consequences, not only for the person being judged, but many times for those that are doing the judging. Often, victims of continued ridicule will finally retaliate with violent behavior.
Rejection is one of the issues associated with social prejudice in Shelly’s novel. The monster in Frankenstein is abandoned because of his hideous features. Victor, who was his creator, cannot look upon what he has brought to life. Victor explains, “I beheld the wretch-- the miserable monster whom I had created. He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs” (Shelly chapter 5 p 43). The monster responds to Victor as a child who looks to his father for reassurance and acceptance. Though the monster was not a child in his physical appearance, his emotional state was that of young child. Since the 1890s, researchers have conducted studies called Parental acceptance-rejections t...


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...society as a whole. When one is taunted or ostracized, the pain they feel is not only emotional but physical as well. The notion “sticks and stones” has been shown to be untrue. Sian Beilock, Ph.D. spoke about research which shows that, “intense social rejection really does share a lot in common with physical pain”. People that are abandoned, teased, rejected, taunted, or ridiculed by their peers may at first seek to do good things, as the monster in Frankenstein attempted. Should this not result in acceptance, these same seemingly weak people can strike out with devastating consequences. This leaves us to wonder, “How could we have stopped the tragedy “? As Shelly’s novel Frankenstein demonstrates, if society treats a person as an outcast simply because of their physical appearance, the end results can be catastrophic for the victims and for the perpetrators.




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